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Don't sleep on Ricky Elmore, LBs for Dolphins

Yes, this must be, should be, a draft to improve the Dolphins offense.

Nobody refutes the idea the Dolphins could use more than half of their eight picks in the coming NFL draft on players that will upgrade the No. 30 scoring offense in the league. But don't sleep on the defense. The Dolphins could and probably will add defenders, with the outside linebacker spot generally a spot the team could be targetting.

And so look to players such as Arizona's Ricky Elmore as possible future Dolphins. Elmore has quite a resume. He is the PAC-10's sack leader the past two seasons with 21.5 sacks. He is 6-4 and 256 pounds so he has prototype 3-4 OLB size despite having played a down DE spot in college.

Count him prominent among the group of middle-round players the Dolphins could find interest in -- along with Mario Addison, J.T. Thomas, Jabaal Sheard and others -- as possible additions for the defense and (very important) on special teams as well.

"Things are starting to come down to the wire and slow down a little right now so it's kind of nice to sit back and relax and wait for Thursday, Friday and Saturday to come around," Elmore told me during a recent guest visit on my radio show Armando and the Amigo.

 "Playing is something I'm very passionate about and the success I've had over the past 2 1/2 years with 21 2/1 sacks it's because of my attitude and the way I approach the game. I come out and go to work. I believe if I don't go hard every single play its a wasted down. A lot of guys have the talent but not all the guys have the work ethic. I think having the work ethic with the talent will take you a lot farther in the game. I have the relentless motor. I go to work every single day. I have the desire to do that every single snap. That's going to help me be successful at the next level."

Like that? I do. So do the Dolphins, apparently. They sent linebacker coach Bill Sheridan to work out Elmore for a personal workout.

"He's a good guy, he took us out and we did a private workout," Elmore said. "Then we did some work in the classroom. He was actually the first coach that did a private workout with me. That was four weeks ago. If I'm able to work with him, that would be pretty good because I think I can fit in that style of defense."

One knock on Elmore is that he's a pass rusher but not great at stopping the run. That is not a certainty but the way to deal with that is ask the kid straight up. The blunt question gives Elmore a chance to speak for himself and also tells me something about how he deals with frank criticism.

He passes on both counts.

"That's just one more thing to prove people wrong about," Elmore said of his run defense. "When you're in the spotlight like I was coming out as a sack guy, people try to pick at you to find something. For me, if you turn on the film, I think you'll see my performance against the run is just as good as it is against the pass. I know I can do it. It's just that people try to dissect something about my game."

Why do I care how Elmore handles critical questions? What do you think coaches do in part for a living? Yes, they instruct. They also criticize to get an improvement. Some kids wilt under hard coaching. The Miami coaching staff coaches hard.

And Elmore would not wilt.

"At the University of Arizona I was lucky enough to have coaching like that, that would point you out, that would get in your face," he said. "So that's going to make it easier for me to adapt to all the coaching styles because I have been coached hard. And I have coaches go the other way, so I'm able to handle it either way."